Updated: Jun 16, 2022
Happy detox month everyone! Let's talk about some great herbs that aid in DETOX.
Chlorella: An algae that is packed with a broad spectrum of nutrients, ranging from concentrated vitamins and minerals to amino acids and peptides. It contains a beautiful balance of iron, B12, and B9 which are all essential to prevent anemia. In fact, one study from 2009 showed women who took 6g of chlorella during pregnancy experienced significantly lower rates of anemia than women who took a placebo. Along with treating anemia, it is known for being a detoxifying agent by binding to heavy metals, pesticides, and toxins and carrying them out of the body (Pro Tip: Ensure you are having one bowel movement per day if you are using chlorella to detox).
Spirulina: Another algae friend that has a 62% amino acid content (hello protein!), mixed carotenoids (a type of Vitamin A beneficial for skin and eye health), and a high concentration of B12 (essential for red blood cell formation, the production of DNA, and energy!). Similar to chlorella, it is often used for heavy metal detoxification. In addition, spirulina has potential benefits in the areas of immunomodulation, anti-cancer activity, antimicrobial activity, biochemical, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection, cardiovascular health, cellular protection, and detoxification from toxins and drugs.
Milk Thistle (Silymarin marianum): This plant has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for diseases of the liver and biliary tract. Silymarin has been reported to work as an antioxidant scavenging free radicals and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Studies also suggest that they protect against genomic injury, increase hepatocyte protein synthesis, decrease the activity of tumor promoters, stabilize mast cells, chelate iron, and slow calcium metabolism. It also promotes the regeneration of diseased liver cells and protects them against some poisons. In short, this prickly plant is magical when used for liver restoration after taking birth control, having drinking binges, and/or using an excess of pharmaceuticals that are taxing on the liver. Give your liver some love!
Five Flavor Berry (Schisandra chinensis): This flavor-packed berry is one of the oldest medicinal plants used in East Asia...specifically traditional Chinese medicine. Schisandra can be used as both medicine and food, making it extremely versatile. It pairs beautifully with Silymarin to detox phase 1 and phase 2 of the liver. In addition, it has been used to treat diabetes, palpitations, insomnia, night time urination, coughs, asthma, phlegm and jaundice.
Cleavers (Galium aparine): This sticky plant tends to grow in areas of the forest that need detoxing. Which is SO INTERESTING because medicinally, we know that Galium increases lymphatic drainage and breaks up lymphatic congestion (enlarged lymph nodes) especially in the pelvis. In general, Galium is known as a lymphatic tonic. In addition, it is also used to soothe the urinary tract, giving it indication in cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis and pyelonephritis. Topically, it can be used to aid in healing scrapes, bug bites, cuts, and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Marigold (Calendula officinalis): This happy flower is more than a pretty house plant. Much like Galium, it is used to stimulate the drainage of enlarged, inflamed lymph nodes and is specific for lymphatic congestion in the breast and pelvic tissues. Topically, calendula is hard to beat for skin inflammation including minor bacterial infections and cuts.
Haley Haberman B.S. HSMT
Medical Student Blogger
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Marciano, M. (2015, September 13). Silybum Marianum. The Naturopathic Herbalist. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/2015/09/13/silybum-marianum/
Marciano, P. by M. (2018, November 11). Calendula officinalis. The Naturopathic Herbalist. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/2014/01/04/calendula-officinalis/
Mason, R. (2004, July 5). Chlorella and Spirulina: Green Supplements for Balancing the Body. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/107628001300303691
Nakano, S., Takekoshi, H. & Nakano, M. Chlorella pyrenoidosa Supplementation Reduces the Risk of Anemia, Proteinuria and Edema in Pregnant Women. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 65, 25–30 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-009-0145-9
Sun, Wenli & Shahrajabian, M. Hesam & Cheng, Qi. (2021). Schisandra chinensis, Five Flavor Berry, a Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Super-Fruit from North Eastern China. Pharmacognosy Communications. 11. 13-21. 10.5530/pc.2021.1.4.
Theivandran, G., Mohamed Ibrahim, S., & Murugan , M. (2015). Fourier Transform Infrared (Ft-Ir) Spectroscopic Analysis of Spirulina Fusiformis. Journal of Medicinal Plants. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.plantsjournal.com/
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.